Don Pomb Polye: the bridesmaid, never the bride.

If the Hon Don Pomb Polye has ever had an ambition to lead Papua New Guinea as Prime Minister it has been thwarted at every turn.

By PNG Echo

Polye - part of the Somare, Per coup government
Polye – Somare Government pre coup.

As a seasoned parliamentarian with more than 11 years experience under his belt, who has held ministerial portfolios up to, and including that of of Deputy Prime Minister (to Grand Chief, Sir Michael Somare in the pre-coup government), Don Pomb Polye seems fated to always be the bridesmaid and never the bride.

What’s more, he only held his most senior role for 5 months (in 2010) before being relieved of it by Sir Michael in a cabinet reshuffle.

Polye - part of the O'Namah coup government
Polye – the O’Namah coup government

Then in August of 2011, when Polye, surprisingly, backed the legally ill-advised political coup against Somare, (surprising because Polye was, with Somare, part of the same political party – the National Alliance) he was not the usurper.

Although Polye was easily the most senior parliamentarian to back the coup, he was overlooked for the top job in favour of an also-ran, who had been previously side-lined by the Somare government, Peter O’Neill.

For O’Neill, the rest is history.

To add further insult to considerable injury, Polye, when part of this government was relieved of the Ministry for Finance by O’Neill prior to the elections of 2012.

The Prime Minister informed him that: “This decision is taken in the best interest of the government.”  Incompetence was the suggestion.

Furthermore, the ministry was not returned to him after the election.

And the slights kept coming.

Polye - front bench of post 2012, O'Neill Government
Polye – front bench of post 2012, O’Neill Government

Having won the seat of Kandep on the primary vote in 2012 (an unusual occurrence -although the fact that 27 opposing candidates recorded no votes at all – not even their own – is hard to believe) and given that his new T.H.E Party was the second highest polling party in the government coalition; and also considering he was the head of that party, the fact that he is not now Deputy Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea beggars belief.

And about none of this treatment has Polye ever complained.  He has elevated forbearance to an art form.

How has he performed for Papua New Guinea?

Don Pomb Polye

As a civil engineer, in the portfolio of Minister for Transport,  (that he held for more than eight years) is where Polye had his chance to shine.

He was disappointing.

It’s been mooted, that he “…failed to address the deteriorating condition of the transport system…”

Certainly, despite many years and copious amounts of money, he’s failed to build the Wasa Bridge in Kandep.

Sir Michael Somare
Sir Michael Somare

Moreover, Polye’s performance in another role (as Deputy Prime Minister) was clearly not pleasing to then Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare either.

The cabinet reshuffle that had Polye axed as Deputy Prime Minister was in anticipation of the likelihood of Somare having to step down as Prime Minister due to the imminent tribunal he was having to face for failing to provide annual returns.

Somare’s anointed replacement was not Don Polye but Sam Abal.  Clearly he did not trust Polye to lead PNG.

When yet another Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, relieved Polye of a portfolio, the Ministry of Finance, and said it was because of  of a “… continuing lack of ability by the department and ministry of finance to contain expenditure overruns outside of the budget appropriations…,” it is beginning to become evident that he too was ambivalent about Polye’s political prowess.

Leo Dion, PNG's Deputy Prime Minister
Leo Dion, PNG’s Deputy Prime Minister

Leo Dion’s rise to the Deputy Prime Ministership in the stead of party leader, Polye, a ‘shoe in’ for the job  after 2012 elections is further evidence of a lack of political confidence in this Engan.

But, be that as it may, Polye has kept his hands firmly on the reins of the Treasury and he has presided over a projected K15 billion budget.

Polye, also as the country’s Treasurer, has recently been appointed Chairman of the Board of Governors of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

Under the circumstances, is anyone nervous?

Polye and Paraka.

Paul Paraka
Paul Paraka

The Anti-corruption, Task Force Sweep is poised to prosecute the biggest corruption scam PNG has ever seen – the Paraka case.

Arrested lawyer, Paul Paraka was (is) well connected politically.  There is hardly a politician with which Paraka would not be on first-name terms.

That is why there has been considerable outrage that, along with Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill and Finance Minister James Marape, Polye, in a series (chain) of directives approved the illegal payment of K71 million to the lawyer.

In a letter dated 24th October 2012, Polye wrote to the Secretary for Treasury Simon Tosali, asking him to source special funding to settle lawyers’ legal bills.

Minister for Finance James Marape with Polye
Minister for Finance James Marape with Polye

“The Minister for Finance has made a formal request through my office for a special funding to settle the Lawyers’ legal bills. The Prime Minister is aware of these legal bills and has directed the bills to be settled”.

This is damning evidence, which is not completely mitigated by the Prime Minister’s claim the letter, signed by him, was forged.

For, in the best of circumstances, had Marape and Polye believed the letter to be genuine, it was, at least, pure negligence on their part that they never queried the PMs directive. They should have known that Paraka had been banned from doing any government work.

The award

Polye’s career, littered with prestigious portfolios, but not quite the Prime Ministership, is mirrored by this new award: prestigious but not quite a knighthood

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10 thoughts on “Don Pomb Polye: the bridesmaid, never the bride.

  1. Hi PNG Echo,
    I’m very happy with the article. Right now Mr Polye is having a huge rally in kandep Stn or district hq, the place he abandoned almost a year and half ago since Hune 2012 after he financed his kambirip tribesmen and hired mercenaries with high powered guns to destroy the town, looting public servants houses and burning down houses of servants who are suspected of not supporting him.
    The purpose of his rally is to secretly pay initial compensation using the Govt funds, District Support Improvement Program (DSIP) Funds, annually allocated k10 million.
    He is doing that in the disguise of celebrating as IMF/world bank chairman. The poor guys are being fooled by yet again another cunning ploy to abuse public funds.
    More updates late
    God bless
    The MOU

  2. I think he is only a talker, riding on his confidence all along. Numerous opportunities have went begging for him for anything like prime ministers’ job. He may win the Kandep seat again in 2017 but he will never be a prime minister. He is among the rest of the government MPs flowing by the tide and not standing up and standing against the tide as matter of principles and good governance.

    He as been a minister all of his time in parliament but there is no one particular national project in PNG that stands out in his name. For example Sir Mekere is known for reforming the economy, Ben Allan Micah know for his leadership in Privitasation, Sir Julius is known for the ‘hard kina’ policy, late David Mai and Peter Ipatas known being champions of free education and so on.

    He promised the people of PNG on Jeepney production – nothing
    He promised the people of PNG on railway linkages – nothing
    Highlands Highway expansion has amounted to nothing (but only about unnecessary claims that causes so much of hi-cups)
    Central province to Morobe/Highlands road connection – nothing
    His attempts on two national budget so far only results in huge debts and deficits.
    The economy under his management is story enough to tell about his competencies

  3. Polye is one of our more cunning thieves, along the line of Julius Chan in that he finds loopholes in the law to feather his nest instead of doing outright stealing. He’s a good illustration of how pathetic our country has become. No amount of bilas he uses to cover up his sinful core will erase that reality..

  4. He stays in power by maintaining a controlled anarchy in his province. He has some senior people in the community who preach about him and give him godly status so that the Kandeps look at him with a cargo cult mentality that never brings any tangible developments with long term gains.
    Nonetheless, it is the impression I a get from hearsay only and not fact.

  5. Don Pomb Polye has done great for Kandep and PNG as a whole. Many impact projects have been initatited by him in Kandep and the electrotate is striving to become a model district in the country. he also has done great for the country in his capacity in different ministerial portfolios. I urge People with vested interests and political affiliations not to make miscontsrued allegations against him…he is a great leader and that We can only thank God for sending to mankind stars like Polye so that precious goodness could illuminate out of such people for all to be blessed with.

    • Polye is a cunning politician. He speaks bullshits and make people live in fantasy. He promised Winja in his electrotrate as Paradise, Kokas his mother’s place as small America, and wasa bridge to be a floading bridge. He is a big mouth for nothing

      • Polye is a great leader. Some of you will never in your entire life be like him. Your comments have no substance and are our of pure jealously. You should simply stop this nonsense of criticising a mature and more capable son of png.

  6. Read this please…Everyone has humble beginning in life. Chairman for World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund board of governors Don Pomb Polye has his own. He is also the Treasurer for Papua New Guinea.

    Born to Akim and Polye on February 1, 1967 at a small village called Kokas at Kandep in Enga province is him.

    Life was not that easy for them to raise him up in the area as they were hard hit by a famine then. They migrated to Avi village in Jiwaka province (formally Western Highlands) where the family settled.

    As a determined child, he completed his primary and high schools in the province from 1975 to 1984. Little Don was a leader all through his student life until 1990 when he passed out of the University of Technology in Morobe province as a graduate civil engineer.

    He was not only elected as the Student Representative Council president but also as National Union of Students to name a few.

    During those glamorous days, his teachers, classmates and peers spoke highly of him because of his charisma in public speaking and other leadership qualities. Such comments did not immediately encourage him to participate in political events.

    All in his mind was ‘There is time for everything…’ He rather joined Department of Works then as a project engineer in Simbu province and worked in other provinces for almost a decade.

    The lack of basic services in his electorate and Enga province as a whole had prompted him to put his hands up for the provincial seat in 1992 but he did not succeed.

    That did not discourage him to quit it because he had already seen a need for a visionary leader like himself for the seats.

    He tried it again in 2002 and succeeded as the member for Kandep. Though being inexperienced in politics, Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare, without any hesitation, appointed him as his Deputy Leader for the National Alliance party then. Sir Michael believed that Polye would take the party and the NA-led government then to the next level.

    However, that did not go well when there was a leadership tussle among the young parliamentarians when he was seeking medication in Singapore. The ‘competition’ within the party led to its demise in August, 2011.

    Treasurer Don Polye has set a record in PNG politics in the Limited Preferential Voting system as he gained three election victories by polling absolute majority votes since its introduction in 2007.

    Between 2006 and 2007, he was the Deputy Prime Minister in the government and a cabinet Minister for Works, Transport and Civil Aviation until 2010. His leadership has transformed the sector by way of legislations, policies and sectoral reforms. He laid the foundation for upgrading regional airports into international standards, upgrading rural airstrips, upgrading roads, wharves, and jetties nationwide and established National Maritime and Safety Authority and National Road Safety Authority among others. He is proud to see them come to fruition while sitting in the treasurer’s chair.

    Passing two record budgets for the country with the largest slice given to infrastructure development to grow the economy, he changed the traditional budget formulation by unifying the recurrent expenditure and the development fund to avoid duplication of fund allocation.

    Additionally, he has supported the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill in his drive against corruption by introducing the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative which will ensure extractive companies declare their revenue to the people and the publication of quarterly report for release of warrants.

    “We will continue to fight it until our 144 out of 177 Global corruption index is improved. Our progress so far is promising,” he said.

    From December 2010 to 2011, he was appointed as the minister for Foreign Affairs, Trade and Immigration at a ministerial reshuffle. He also served as Higher Education minister.

    In the O’Neill government, he was appointed as the Minister for Finance & Treasury and Border Development Authority.

    From 2004-2007, Minister Polye enrolled and completed his Masters in Business Administration at the Southern Cross University in Sydney, Australia and he is planning to achieve higher education qualification.

    Thanking PM O’Neill and the coalition partners, he said he also was proud to see most of his party Triumph Heritage Empowerment’s policies were implemented and they include equal distribution of wealth, poverty reduction, growth in business and investment, quality education and health, accreditation of universities, SME empowerment, rural wealth creation, employment creation, corruption-free, improvement of law and order, violence-free, drug-free economic growth, improvement of tourism and agriculture, infrastructure development, youth and public service housing policy, village court officials’ pay to name a few.

    Spending most of his time in the national politics, he does not let his people of Kandep to suffer at one time. Polye is best known as ‘mini-god’ in Kandep and Enga as a whole.

    Kandep is known as a prophetic land with many fairy tales and a great leader Nenk Pasul in the electorate once prophesied that there would be a man from Polys’s clan who will put Kandep on world spotlight. He is none other than Don Pomb Polye.

    Kandep is now on the horizon to become a commercial hub in the provinces and is striving to become a model district in the country. A feasibility study in the area has also discovered oil and gas prospect.

    As such, he has initiated many projects already and many others impact infrastructure developments are taking place in the electorate. Kandep-Laiagam-Porgera Kandep-Hela and Kandep–Mendi roads in one of them and this road connection is soon to be called ‘Don Pomb Polye highway’.

    Others that are to be implemented are rural electrification project, water supply, and ICT.

    Because of his ‘big heart’ to serve the people, he has not only been invested with the Companion of the Order of Saint Michael and St. George for his community service but also he was appointed as the chairman for WB/IMF board of governors in October.

    “I have achieved almost everything but some have not for the betterment of the country. I thank the people of Kandep for the mandate they give to me so that I continue to serve our people,” he told reporters in a news conference in Port Moresby when receiving his Queen’s award.

    He is adamant to progress further in his political career in the years ahead.

  7. Those people who infavor of Polye are not Kandepians.
    The real kandepens are in deer need Of basic government services. Since independent till 2002 there was a good place, people were friendly, the landscape was in its natural stages and trouble free zone in Enga province.
    Since then, when Don Polye began his campaign in 2002,all lovely peoples

  8. I agree with most of the comments/observations here except that one who sympathises with DP’s colourful biography.
    Polye is disaster to the people of Kandep. he has never done anything for Kandep since 2002. he only comes once in a while during election or when its time for compensation. if he has done anything then those who promote him should come up with facts and statistics. since Kandep is so remote, and lack of ICT and other mode of information especially the media, he is taking advantage of it and feeling the public with all the shits.
    A civil engineer by profession and being in the ministry for over 8 years, he miserably failed the country’s infrastructure especially our major road, wharf, jetties and airports/airstrip. all he is good at is just talking. he has a big mouth to talk yet not proven himself that he can walk the talk.
    Polye is such an ambitious man. and so desperate he is. opportunities have presented to him several times yet he didn’t take them. he was a freak and incompetent leader. else he doesn’t deserved to be called leader.
    he will never become the Prime Minister. if he does than we don’t expect anything better than our previous PMs. he will be like other past PMs as he hasn’t demonstrated how capable he is to lead this country of 7million plus people!